Sage advice for culinary newbs from a couple of people who know a mandolin is more than a string instrument.

“Start with things you love, and do it with a glass of wine or a cocktail in your hand.”

– Rayme Rossello, Comida

“Don’t overseason — taste as you go instead. Also, not everything has to be well-done and totally cooked through. You can always cook it more; you can always season and salt it more, but once you get over that point, it’s no good. All meat is medium-rare when it feels the same as the fleshy area between your thumb and pointer finger.”

– John Horan, Biju’s Litte Curry Shop

“Put a bunch of stuff in a pot and make it taste good. Seriously. It's that simple. That’s how you learn. So, invest in a tasting spoon.”

– Larry Hobbs, Biju’s Little Curry Shop

“Good food starts with good ingredients. Try and support your local farmer. If you have good product, and you respect it, and make things with love, it’s hard to go wrong. Never underestimate the importance of salt, it can make or break anything you are cooking, but don’t iodized salt. Use Morton’s kosher salt instead. Lastly, a sharp knife is a safe knife. Most importantly have fun!”

– Gabe Wyman, Stoic & Genuine

“It's really important to calibrate your own palate by going out to eat at good restaurants. You can cook anything out of a cookbook, but if you don't have a reference point for how something should taste until you have a really good version of it. Also, figure out what you like. You don’t have to be able to cook everything; just learn like, five recipes really, really well and you’re golden.”

– Tommy Lee, Hop Alley

“Meet a farmer, go to a farmer’s market and get to know the qualities of good ingredients. If you do that, you have a higher chance of making something that tastes good. Cooking doesn’t have to be daunting. I find that the easier something is and the less complicated steps it has the better it is.”

– Kyle Mendenhall, Arcana

“With all these technological gadgets that are supposed to make life easier and more convenient like home sous vide kits and pressure cookers that sync to an app on your phone and instant gratification espresso pods…. my tip would be to  reconnect with the basic cooking techniques of our past. Find a cast iron pan for braising or learn to roast a chicken. Another great way to different techniques to enjoy the same ingredient but prepared a multitude of ways on the same plate.”

– Daniel Asher, River and Woods